Jelanie Payne 2017

	Jelani Payne
Barbados, West Indies
Thursday February 23, 2017
Extract from the book:
Survive, Thrive & Stay Alive In College

Success in college does not depend solely on how smart you are, the amount of hard work you put into your studies, or even how often you go to class.
While the effort you make is important, to be truly successful in college requires the right perspective—perspective being your attitude or point of view of any situation. Your perspective on college life from preparation to graduation day is what keeps you comfortable and stable. It can provide mental comfort and stability, or it can be the cause of nervous breakdowns and uncontrollable anxiety. It can provide sincere inspiration, or cause the famous marriage of doubt and depression. It can provide a path to complete and assured success, or be the cause of consistent and fearful failure.

Sometimes the most fearful element about a task is not completing the task, but ensuring that you complete the task according to your standards and the standards by which it will be judged.
In my case, I felt like college final year projects would be judged with extreme criticism, as all lecturers were constantly and consistently stressing the importance of the year-long project to overall college grades (approximately 20%).

In my senior year of Mechanical Engineering at the University of the West Indies, I expressed my fears about the project to one of the recent graduates from my department. He admitted to being afraid at that time of his college life as well. Our fear was not only of the project itself, but because we wanted so much to be successful, we were afraid our work would not measure up to our standards, and more importantly to the standards of the university’s project examiners and moderators.

However, we both understood the necessity to complete the project, and that the task was one which could not be avoided. So our perspective of the task had to change, else we would have failed even before the first attempt.
With the open mindset I have always had, I embraced the challenge despite my fear. I therefore took the opportunity to consult with the same graduate as well as other graduates, lecturers and project supervisors to gather information with respect to choosing a project from the lists provided by each project supervisor. This was a difficult task.

We discussed the types of projects available and inquired about the content for which the lecturers and supervisors were looking.

After spending many weeks of my summer vacation trying to choose a project, I finally decided on one I liked, based on the advice from department graduates, lecturers and project supervisors. It was a project to which I felt drawn, because in my mind I had already started to create and develop ideas that could be utilized for the project.

When I emailed my newly chosen project supervisor regarding the choice, I was informed that it had already been taken. Because of doubt,
I had taken too long to submit my request for the project. With my spirits crushed, I had to search for another project, which fit the criteria based on the advice I had been given. It also had to be one
I liked. I asked the supervisor for the name of the student who had requested and received the project
I initially chose. It was a friend of mine who also lived in my hall of residence. When next I saw my friend, the project came up in discussion and he said he would not be completing his senior year project that year because he had to repeat a course.
He mentioned that he would not be allowed to do the project and would also be unable to manage the course load and complete the year long final year project.

Oh Happy Day.

In spite of his misfortune, I smiled inside because
I knew this project was meant for me and that I would produce excellent work.
Having been given the chance to complete the project I thought was lost. I became fully committed to the task. I was less afraid and more motivated, but still wondered where and how I would find enough content to fill at least fifty pages of the project’s sixty-page limit.
Many ideas came to me for the required project report, presentation and poster. I had thoughts and ideas for sections of the project such as the poster and slide-show presentation I hadn’t started yet, as well as thoughts on sections of the project report on which I was currently working or had already drafted.

These needed to be recorded, for the future to produce the best project possible, and to ensure nothing of importance was forgotten. Perfection was my aim. Every day of class I carried with me a notebook designated for project ideas only. Every time I had an idea, or saw or heard an idea that I liked, I wrote it all down in my notebook. When I didn’t have my project notebook with me I would use a sheet of paper from one of my other notebooks for class. Back on hall, I transferred the notes to my special project notebook.
With each section of the project, I consulted my notebook. With each page of new ideas in my project notebook, I created and developed self-confidence and confidence about the project. It wasn’t a task any more, it wasn’t work; it was a work of art—my art.
Prior to project submission I was able to consult my special notebook and ensure each idea I had recorded was incorporated into my project.
Eventually the task was complete and it was perfect not only by my standards, but also by the standards of my examiners and moderator whom I consulted throughout my final year project journey.
My project, poster and presentation received a top grade. Forget the requested sixty-page limit, my project in total was one hundred and eighty-six pages long with valuable content. For me this was success, and achieving success was a matter of applying some perspective.
The right perspective:
• Prevented fear from controlling me;
• Gave me the attitude and motivation I needed to complete the final year project; and
• Shifted my point of view so rather than view the final year project solely as a challenge,
I viewed it as an opportunity to create a personal work of art;
• Allowed me to be truly successful with the final year project challenge.
To gain the right perspective in this experience and achieve success, I had to change the way I thought about and viewed the final year project. Even though I didn’t have names for my way of thinking back then, the right perspective meant applying
Open and Abundant Perspective philosophies.
As you read the following chapters, I want you to share in the rich and varied experiences, knowledge and perspective within this handbook.

OP+ and AP+:
A Matter of
The word ‘perspective’ is important in the definitions of OP+ and AP+ because the adoption of these philosophies require a shift in attitude, point of view and approach.

The Open and Abundant perspective philosophies provide the right attitude so you can view any situation from a different angle to help you solve any problem.
It is the Open as well as the Abundant
Perspective philosophies that I applied to my final year project work which can be of service to you and propel you to success.
The final year project experience shared in the Introduction consisted of these two philosophies which I wish to share with you throughout the handbook, as well as the three benefits you will gain from them.
Philosophy #1:
Open Perspective: OP+
‘There Is Always A Way’
Definition: There is at least one solution to any problem and at least one way to overcome any challenge.
OP+ Steps:
Believe the statement “there is a way.”
Take action. Use your belief and faith in the definition above to find a solution.
The Open Perspective [OP+] philosophy was utilized to create my own mental comfort and inspire me. It allowed me to see opportunity where I felt fear and doubt, and to transform negative feelings into successful thoughts of the future.
Philosophy #2:
Abundant Perspective: AP+
‘There Is Sufficient Abundance
Around You and In Your Life’
Definition: There is sufficient abundance around you and in your life to assist you in solving any problem and overcoming any challenge.
AP+ Steps:
Believe the statement “there is sufficient abundance around you and in your life.”
Take action. Utilise the abundance around you and in your life ‘to find more than one solution to your problems or challenges.’ There is abundance in our lives every day, but we must recognize it and use it. In doing so we create it for ourselves.